Book Review: 31 Days of Wonder by Tom Winter

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A (very) brief plot overview

Ben and Alice have a chance, and very brief, encounter in a park that impacts both of their lives in a big way. Over the next 31 days, they both change enormously as people, all because of the moment that they met.

What’s good about it?

I always love books that explore the idea of something so simple and so every day as a chance encounter and how this can impact and change a person’s life. For me, 31 Days of Wonder is a perfect example of this – how a moment so small and so fleeting can have such a big impact. Tom Winter had a winner of a storyline idea with this one!

Alice’s section of storytelling was by far my favourite. As a woman in her early twenties struggling to deal with her body image issues and find her place in the world, Alice is a character I really identified with. She felt real. When coworkers and family members commented on her weight, I wanted Alice to stand up and scream at them, all the while knowing how hard it is to battle your own demons anyway, never mind when others constantly point them out to you. Alice’s growth as a character was the biggest strength of the book in my opinion.

I liked that the book moved between perspectives of Ben and Alice and the pace of it. Flitting between perspectives and moving from day to day made this an enjoyable, easy read. Even though it deals with quite big issues like grief, body image, unwanted sexual advances amen mental illness, it was delivered in a lighthearted way and I finished the book in two sittings.

There were parts of this book that were really sweet and poignant and at times it felt like it had something new and different to say. It was definitely a story about everyday lives and the stories we all have inside of us. In most ways, it met my expectations and Alice’s storyline exceeded it.

What’s not so good?

I did struggle a bit with Ben’s character. I loved his character arc and his storyline, but as an actual character I did struggle to connect with him. Whilst Alice felt real, Ben didn’t seem like anyone I have ever met. For an adult man, he felt incredibly childlike. I understand that he was supposed to have some form of mental illness, but I think he came across as a flat character rather than three dimensional like Alice. As he was one half of the narrative, I found his character quite hard to want to read and found myself skimming over his sections occasionally.

Also, I noticed the odd typo, such as a missing second inverted comma. Nothing that altered the reading experience, but I expected a bit more of a slick finish to a book, especially one printed in hard copy.

Rate me: 6/10. It didn’t blow my mind, but I liked it.

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